St. Mary of the Hills School, in Milton, is celebrating their sixth successful year in The Bostonian Society and Boston Duck Tours Essay Contest. In this statewide competition, St. Mary’s brought home first, second, and third place for the 5th & 6th grade division as well as the 7th & 8th grade division. Seventh grader, Elise Ferguson (Randolph), earned first place for her division with an intriguing essay on loyalism. Eighth grader, Aoidin Salmon (Milton), took second place, while eighth grader, Colson Ganthier (Milton), placed third. The seventh and eighth grade classes edited their submissions under the instruction of English teacher, Mr. Colin Flaherty. The middle school students also did incredibly well in their division with Kevin Gallius (Milton) and Jenysis Pitter (Hyde Park) winning the 1st and 3rd place prizes, while sixth grader Anna McA’Nulty (Milton) took home 2nd place. 5th and 6th grade students wrote and revised these essays under the instruction of Mrs. Christine Norton. This is the second year in a row that St. Mary’s has swept the competition with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place victory. It’s also the sixth year in a row that a St. Mary’s student has won the grand prize.
The Bostonian Society and Boston Duck Tours honored our students during an assembly at St. Mary’s on January 20th. Jim Healy of the Boston Historical Society, congratulated these students and gifted them with exciting awards. In addition to earning a free Duck Tour for her entire class, contest winner Elise Ferguson also won a thousand dollars to put towards her school tuition. Kevin Gallius earned his class a free Duck Tour for placing first in the 5th & 6th grade division.
In this year’s essay contest, The Bostonian Society and Boston Duck Tours have encouraged the students to think outside of the box as they were asked to sympathize with a loyalist point of view during the American Revolution. The contest also tasked students with discussing historical sites that preserve the loyalist traditions.
To prepare his students, Mr. Faherty had his classroom review expository five paragraph writing, a style of essay used to present a topic in a straightforward and logical manner. Coincidentally, American History is the focus of the 7th and 8th grade Social Studies curriculum, so this was a unique opportunity to test their knowledge. The research ranged from textbooks to websites, and essays were enthusiastically peer reviewed.
“The parochial schools who enter the contest always do exceptionally well when it comes to writing” said Jim Healy. St. Mary’s credits the success of their talented students to the heavy focus on literature and writing they received from the school’s language curriculum.
Professors from the History Departments of Northeastern and Suffolk University judged thousands of submissions to choose these winners. After studying local history in great depth, Mr. Faherty and Mrs. Norton’s students are excited to see Boston’s sites first-hand, once again. Although Mrs. Norton could probably narrate the whole tour by now, she is excited to continue the legacy of St. Mary’s with the Boston Duck Tours. They will travel to the city this spring to view the city on a Boston Duck Tour.